5 Disadvantages to DIY Concrete Foundation Forms

5 disadvantages to diy concrete foundation forms
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A crucial phase of constructing a concrete foundation involves setting up the forms that shape its foundation. Quality form-work will determine the success of the foundation project. Before you decide on DIY concrete foundation forms, consider the significance of the foundation to your future home.

A strong, durable, and safe home requires a well-built foundation that will support the weight of the house, transferring the house's load to the footing and into the ground, resisting seismic and wind forces, and providing anchorage for the home. A durable foundation also ensures a moisture-resistant barrier (following the building codes) and adequate resistance to shear and bending stresses resulting from lateral soil and water pressures. A quality foundation should also provide insulation and prevent insect infiltration. Concernedly, a poorly constructed foundation can lead to significant structural damage, endangering your family and the neighborhood.

The importance of foundation forms to the integrity of a home, along with installation complexities, make clear that homeowners should leave this part of their home building to professionals like those at Fox Blocks.


How to Build Concrete Foundation Forms

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A high-quality concrete foundation owes much of its shape and stability to its forms. When building concrete foundation forms, several factors tremendously impact their performance: the wood board’s dimensions, the distance between stakes, and attachment of stakes. A high-quality concrete slab owes much of its shape and stability to its forms. Experienced contractors know this ﹘ they will provide the best insurance that the form will meet the highest standards.

Wood Board Dimensions

When using wood boards for concrete forms, the dimensions must ensure the concrete won’t spill out, creating a mess and impacting the strength of the slab.

Thickness of Boards

For most concrete form projects, a 2-inch thick board should work.

Length of Boards

The length of the board should exceed the slab length by a few inches, which allows for easier attachment to the perpendicular boards. If the slab's dimensions exceed the available board length, you can clamp together multiple boards

Board Height

Most projects for slabs up to 5 inches thick use 2 by 6 inches or 2 by 12 inches board sizes. However, for slabs with thickened edges, use 2 by 12-inch boards. Thickened edges provide greater stability by forming a protective wall around the concrete's sub-base.

Distance Between Stakes

Form boards require appropriately spaced wooden stakes installed around the perimeter to ensure they will not bend, buckle, or collapse under the massive weight of the wet concrete. Place stakes no more than three feet apart; however, deep or large slabs may require closer stakes for added stability. Once pouring the concrete in place, the stakes give the forms the stability to maintain their shape.

Attachment of the Stakes

In certain types of soil, stakes do not provide enough stability to withstand the force of the concrete on the forms. A stake pushed outward just an inch or two can cause the forms to bulge, resulting in a misshapen slab.

Five Disadvantages of DIY Concrete Foundation Forms

You only get one chance to do the foundation of your home. If something goes wrong during the construction, including the concrete foundation forms, it’s not always easy and usually quite expensive to fix. Average foundation repairs range from $5,000 and $7,000, climbing even higher if the problems damage other parts of your house. Before you begin your concrete foundation forms DIY project, consider these five disadvantages of DIY concrete form construction.

1. Preparing the Site: a Technical and Time-Consuming Task

Preparing a site for installing concrete forms requires much time and a certain level of expertise.

  • First, you must contact your local building department to see if you need a permit and how close to the lot lines you can build.

  • Then you must determine how much the ground at the site slopes using a line level and string or builder's level. Flattening the site may mean moving tons of soil or adding a low retaining wall to hold back the soil.

  • Finally, you need to check the soil. A durable concrete foundation needs solid, well-drained soil. For sandy soil, you only need to top with topsoil and gravel fill. For clay, you will need to remove enough to allow a 6- to 8- inch layer of compacted gravel; this may require an excavator.

2. The Importance of Leveling

Professionals understand that any deviance in the foundation forms from straight or level will cause the foundation to plumb out. DIYers must carefully and precisely level each board before nailing to the corner stakes.

3. Bracing the Forms to Ensure Straight Sides

The heavy poured concrete may push the form board outward, leaving the foundation with a curved edge — a very difficult situation to fix. To avoid this, you must apply extra strong bracing. Place the level on the 2-inch X 12-inch and stretch a mason's line just above its top edge, then brace it with pairs of 2-inch X 4-inch spaced every two feet.

4. Squaring the Other Sides May Challenge a Novice

After cutting a second 2-inch X 12-inch to the width of the foundation, nail one end to the braced form. Then, to ensure a square foundation, use the diagonal length to set the form at 90 degrees.

5. Tools Needed to Build Your Own Concrete Foundation Forms

Before deciding to build your concrete foundation forms, consider the actual costs, both in time and materials. As a DIYer, you will need lots of tools, materials, and possibly equipment.

  • Tools required: circular saw, hammer, level, builder’s level, safety glasses, tape measure

  • Materials: Duplex nails, forming lumber, gravel fill, topsoil

  • Equipment: excavator

Fox Blocks ICFs Provide a Better Foundation Solution

You can avoid the risks and problems of building your concrete foundation forms with Fox Blocks insulated concrete forms (ICFs). Fox Blocks’ poured concrete method creates a stronger, more durable, and energy-efficient foundation than a professionally built traditional poured concrete wall foundation.

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Building an ICF Foundation

Building ICF foundations requires dry-stacking expanded polystyrene foam panels to a foundation’s length. Skilled workers then reinforce and brace the forms before pouring concrete into the hollow form panels. The IRC building code and Fox website list the engineering design tables for building an ICF foundation and above-grade walls.

The Benefits of Fox Blocks ICF Foundations

  • Fox Blocks’ quick and straightforward installation reduces labor costs and construction risks over other concrete foundation methods. The Fox Blocks all-in-one wall assembly combines five construction steps into one, structure, air barrier, vapor retarder, insulation, and attachment. This feature significantly hastens project delivery by eliminating the need to coordinate multiple trades while realizing all of the foundation goals.

  • The design of ICF foundation walls can include 6-inch or 8-inch reinforced concrete.

  • The wall assembly includes a vapor retarder, more effectively resisting moisture intrusion over poured concrete wall foundations.

  • ICFs have an R-value of higher than 20, making them much more energy-efficient than poured concrete foundations.

  • The ICF construction forms protect the concrete of ICF foundations, making them less prone to cracking than poured concrete foundations.

The Superior Foundation Solution - ICF

The foundation of a home forms the bedrock that protects the family and the structure from severe winds, earthquakes, moisture, insects, lateral pressures. Importantly, homeowners should leave this part of their home construction to professionals like those at Fox Blocks. Fox Blocks simplifies construction, reduces costs, saves time, and minimizes long-term problems over poured concrete foundations. Fox Blocks also create a more energy-efficient and moisture-resistant foundation than other concrete foundation methods.

Contact Fox Blocks experts today for more on how Fox Blocks ICF provides a better solution for building a solid foundation than doing it yourself.